Title & Author: Radiance (Wraith Kings Book 1) by Grace Draven
Genre & Publication Date: Fantasy Romance, January 11, 2015
Book Description: “~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.”
First Line: Today was Ildiko’s wedding day, and if she managed not to retch on herself or a guest, she’d consider the entire event a resounding success.
My Take: Okay, I’ll level with you here. I’m a confessed romantic. Elizabeth Bennett & Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane Eyre & Edward Rochester…Malcolm Reynolds & Inara Serra. Oh yeah, my heart goes pitty-pat. That being said, I haven’t had much luck finding a fantasy novel with a romantic center that did the theme any justice. Too many clichés involving the rending of tunics and heaving bosoms to really make me believe in the relationship.
This novel did a good job of growing the relationship between the two a little at a time. Although it’s obvious they are immediately attracted to each other’s personality, there is a nice interlude of chapters in which this admiration has time to blossom. I also loved that in the beginning they find the other physically hideous, to the point of flinching. It makes things all the sweeter when that opinion starts to change the longer they are in each other’s company, even though on the exterior nothing has changed.
The Magical: The nocturnal culture of the Kai made the scenes mysterious and hey, all that candlelight was handy in adding to the romantic atmosphere without seeming contrived.
The Mundane: These two are just a little too perfect given the mean spirited families they come from. A few rough edges around their temperate natures would have made them more like real people. Still, this thought didn’t really stand out enough to be a bother.
Summary of Thoughts: A sweet love story with good action. The Kai culture and magic is interesting. It took a while for me to get past some of the names and I’m still not sure if I’m pronouncing “Ildiko” correctly in my head but don’t let that keep you away. I recommend this one and look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out.
A word of warning, there are a few sections in which steam almost comes off the page. The descriptions are, shall we say, detailed. You’ll know when it’s coming so be sure you’re not someplace where others might read over your shoulder. For $2.99 on the Kindle you can re-read these scenes as often as you like…uh, hypothetically speaking *fans self*
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